Posts by: Stephanie

How to Make Prayer a Part of Your Daily Routine

How to Make Prayer a Part of Your Daily Routine

We know prayer is important. We know we should pray. But it’s so easy to just … not. With busy schedules and a million distractions, prayer can be the first thing to fall off our radar. But we can’t have a relationship with God without prayer. We can’t live our faith without prayer. So if we want to make God a priority, we need to make prayer a priority. Catholic philosopher Peter Kreeft has some advice for us:

“The single most important piece of advice about prayer is one word: Begin!”

The best way to make prayer a part of your life is to make it a part of your daily routine. Make it as natural and integral as brushing your teeth. Below are some tips to get you started:

Have a plan. Figure out a time and place that you will pray each day. Maybe it’s while you drink your morning coffee, on your commute, your lunch break, your child’s nap time, or right before bed. Find spaces in your day that offer the opportunity to connect with God, and commit to filling it up with prayer. If you can’t find space in your day, figure out what you need to sacrifice in order to make prayer a priority.

Know yourself. The best plans will fall apart if you don’t keep in mind your strengths and weaknesses. If you commit to waking up early to pray but you have a habit of hitting the snooze button, you’re likely to snooze through your prayer time. So choose a time when you are more likely to be awake and present for prayer. If you commit to pray the Rosary each day but it seems like a drudgery, then you’re likely to view prayer as something you have to just get through rather than something you look forward to. So don’t just choose a devotion because other people are doing it, choose a devotion you truly enjoy.

Use technology. Technology can definitely distract us from prayer, with e-mails, text messages, and social media calling for our attention at all hours. But it can also be a great tool for your prayer life. Set an alarm on your phone to remind you of your prayer time. Download a Catholic prayer app so you have your prayers right at your fingertips (here are some suggestions). Download the Immaculate Heart Radio app and pray the Rosary and Divine Mercy Chaplet along with us (see schedule) or listen to Immaculate Heart Sacred Music to create a peaceful, prayerful environment.

Be open to change. Once you’re in a nice groove with your daily prayer, life changes can still throw you off. Work and family obligations can disrupt your prayer life, but they don’t have to dismantle it. If your prayer routine is thrown off, then simply create a new routine. For example, if you’re in the habit of going to daily Mass in the morning but a new job makes that impossible, create a new habit of stopping by an adoration chapel before or after work. Life changes, and it’s OK if your prayer life changes with it, as long as you don’t lose your commitment to daily prayer.

Avoid discouragement. There are bound to be times when you miss or choose to skip your daily prayer. Don’t give in to the temptation of thinking that daily prayer is too hard, or you’re not holy enough to do it. Even if it’s been weeks, months, or years since you last prayed, choose today to start again. If you are feeling discouraged, remember these words from St. Francis de Sales:

“Have patience with all things, but chiefly have patience with yourself. Do not lose courage in considering your own imperfections, but instantly set about remedying them – every day begin the task anew.”

Remember – it’s a relationship. Prayer is not something to simply check off your to-do list, like doing the laundry or getting your oil changed. It’s a relationship with the living God.  So rather than just going through the motions, try to truly connect with God each day. Listen to Him as much as you talk to Him. Continue praying outside of your designated prayer time by being grateful for a beautiful sunset or asking Him for help in a moment of stress or anger. In heaven we will see God face to face, so connecting with God in prayer is like a preview of heaven. Who would want to miss a single day of that?

Father Robert Barron appointed auxiliary bishop of Los Angeles

Father Robert Barron appointed auxiliary bishop of Los Angeles

Wonderful news from the Vatican today, as Pope Francis named three new auxiliary bishops for the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, including Father Robert Barron. Father Barron is the founder of Word on Fire ministries and the creator of the acclaimed CATHOLICISM film series. He is a pioneer in the New Evangelization, with more than 13 million views of his regular Youtube videos, and next to Pope Francis he is the most followed Catholic leader on social media.

Below is Bishop-elect Barron’s statement on his new appointment:

It was with enormous surprise that I received word of my appointment as auxiliary bishop of Los Angeles, but it is with a humble and joyful heart that I accept it. The Church of Los Angeles—the most populous in the United States—is energetic, diverse, and creative. Over the years, I’ve visited many times, including multiple trips to the Los Angeles Religious Education Congress in Anaheim; most recently, I was in the Archdiocese for a lecture at Thomas Aquinas College. So though I can’t claim to know it well, I have been able to taste and see some of its richness.

The late Francis Cardinal George—the spiritual grandfather of Word on Fire—was a mentor and friend to me. The mission closest to his heart was the evangelization of the culture, bringing Christ to the arenas of media, politics, law, education, the arts, etc. I can’t think of a more exciting field for this sort of work than Los Angeles, which is certainly one of the great cultural centers of our time.

Many might be wondering what this means for the important work of Word on Fire. The short answer is that it will certainly continue! Through the ministrations of Fr. Steve Grunow and his extremely gifted staff, we will keep bringing you my regular articles, sermons, videos, and media resources.

We have so many projects in the works, including our new film and study program on God and atheism, titled The Mystery of God, and our beautiful new documentary series CATHOLICISM: The Pivotal Players. Those projects will continue as planned with more to come in the future.

I am grateful to all of you who follow and support Word on Fire, using our content to form yourselves and share the Catholic Faith. I thank God each and every day for you.

It is a blessing for me to work with you to introduce people to Jesus Christ and invite them to share all the gifts he wants his people to enjoy.

Please pray for me as I begin this new adventure under the Lord’s providence.

– Bishop-Elect Robert Barron

Read more on Bishop-elect Barron and his new appointment at The Tidings.

What To Do When Your Children Leave the Church

What To Do When Your Children Leave the Church

According to Georgetown University’s Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate,  there are 32 million people in the United States who were raised in the Catholic Faith but no longer identify as Catholic. That’s 10% of the entire U.S. population. Naturally, when children leave the Church it is a heartache for the parents, and many wonder what they should or shouldn’t do. Below are a few dos and don’ts to help you if your child has left the Church:

Don’t feel guilty: There is nothing to gain by combing through the past and thinking of things you could have done differently. Even if you did everything “right,” your children are unique people who will make their own decisions. Their decisions may cause you anguish, but avoid blaming yourself. Focusing too much on the past and things outside your control can take away from the present, where you do have some control and responsibility.

Pray: For your children and for yourself. Pray for your children to return to the Church and continue their relationship with Christ. Pray for the Holy Spirit to work on their hearts. Pray that you may avoid feelings of anger and despair. Pray for God’s grace that you may be a witness of a holy, joyful, merciful, and loving life in Christ.

Be open to dialogue: Faith is a gift from God, and doubt and searching can be an important part of the journey of faith. Listen to your child’s questions or concerns and try to see things from their perspective. Often listening and simply sharing your point of view can be more beneficial than aggressive evangelism. Being open to dialogue doesn’t mean you agree with your child, but that you want to maintain a relationship with them even if you no longer share the same beliefs.

Choose to have a relationship: It can be tempting in your emotional anguish to say or imply that if your child leaves the Church, it will forever damage your relationship. Though your children’s choices may cause you sadness and disappointment, always continue to work on your relationship. Love them and let them know that they are loved.  Break down any barriers of resentment or anger by reaching out in love. If certain topics cause serious disagreement, avoid that subject rather than forcing them to defend their position.

Never lose hope: Do not lose hope that your child will return to the faith. A good example of this unfailing hope is St. Monica, who prayed for her son’s conversion for 30 years without any sign of results. Her son, St. Augustine, eventually converted and went on to become a great saint and Doctor of the Church. Trust and hope that God is watching over your children and that they will someday return to Him and His Church.